Sweet Potato Currywurst

It’s snowing. I have Queen’s Greatest Hits (Vol. 1) on and I’m making an appropriately wintry dish for a god-awful day. I’m singing along to “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” like I was born to and am simply ecstatic (read: terrified) to start Gross Week tomorrow.
I figured I’d leave you all with an easy, healthy recipe before I spend a week face-deep in curdled sauces and creepy candies. Boy, are you in for a treat. Tonight’s recipe features my twist on the sweet and spicy flavors highlighted in the traditional German street food, currywurst. If you’ve never had currywurst, think of it as the German poutine. It’s hearty and healthy and, as a bonus, contains all of the best major food groups: meat, potatoes, and a rich sauce. This recipe swaps out the pork sausage for chicken, adds a little meat to the sauce to boost its protein content and make it a little thicker, and ditches the French fries for baked chipotle sweet potato fries. To save a little time, I used some of Alexia’s amazing new sweet potato fries, sent over by the company. Too delicious. Needless to say, not all of them made it to the dish. It’s a delicious evening indeed when fries and sausage are the stars of the dinner plate.
Sweet Potato Currywurst
Ingredients (serves 2)

Sweet Potato Fries
1 sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of oil

Currywurst

2 chicken sausages, pre-cooked
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 12 oz. can of tomato paste or sauce (alternative: 1 1/2 cups of curried or spicy ketchup. I happened to have some on hand and used it.)
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of curry powder

1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of masa harina, mixed with a few tablespoons of water until blended

1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Hot sauce to taste
1. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and setting a medium-sized saucepan on the stove on low to medium heat.
2. Place your sausages in the pan, allowing them to brown and crisp. Cut your sweet potato into fry-sized strips and place in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes to remove excess starch.
3. Pat fries dry. Mix spices and oil together for the fries and toss with fries until evenly coated. Place fries on baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
4. Take sausages out when they are browned and put chicken, pepper, tomatoes (or ketchup), honey, cumin, and curry powder in the pan. Simmer for five to seven minutes or until bubbling gently and add masa and water to thicken and salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Cut the sausage pieces into slices when cool to the touch.
5. To serve, place fries on a plate or in a bowl with sausage pieces on top. Ladle sauce over the top and sprinkle a little cilantro or cumin on top as a garnish.
Is this the real life? Hell yes, and you can eat it.

GIVEAWAY: West Bend Versatility Cooker

Have you seen my Facebook page? No? You should. It’s pretty awesome. It’s the mecca of all the behind the scenes fun that I don’t post on the site. I can’t write about everything that comes to mind, believe it or not, and often have to be pretty selective. Oh, and I’m also giving away a slow-cooker on it.
West Bend sent me an awesome slow cooker for the winter and is also providing one for a very lucky reader. Details for the giveaway are at the bottom, but here’s my scoop on all things slow. Like I said, the Facebook page exists solely for me to show off my leftovers and creepy creations to the general public without being the recipient of a restraining order. One of my favorite recent posts was the onslaught of tacos I made back in November- simple, easy homemade masa tortillas with shredded chicken and the best salsa in the world. I can easily eat six at a time, for I am the great taco destroyer.
With the Versatility Cooker featuring a slow cooking function and a griddle, making these was a no-brainer. They’re easy and deeply spicy, with a heat that threatens to vanquish even the most clogged nose or sorest throat. Chicken soup v2.0, if you will. Setting up the cooker was pretty easy, and the parts came apart for simple assembly and later storage. There are a few neat customizable settings on the cooker- low heat, high heat, keep warm, and griddle, as well as a timer so you can set your own time should you so choose.
I found that my recipe, which made roughly three servings of shredded chicken, definitely didn’t require the five hours allotted for the high heat setting or the nine hours for the low heat. The preprogrammed cooking times are definitely formatted for larger quantities of food. Not necessarily a bad thing, but also a little much for a smaller recipe. I chose not to fiddle with the customized timing and just set my tacos on high, checking periodically and stopping about two hours in when I felt it was finished. There’s a reason why “set it and forget it” is so appealing- a few hours later, dinner was ready. The cooker is perfect for multi-taskers with limited space. While the chicken cooled, I cooked the tortillas on the griddle.
Everyone loved them.
Yes, everyone.
Clean-up is a little unwieldy as the griddle cannot be removed from its base, so you’re limited to the space around you to clean it in. Scratching is also a hazard. It includes a stainless steel roasting rack, another feature that slightly worries me with the metal-on-nonstick friction, never a good sign. While the pot can be cleaned in the dishwasher, I’m leery of trying it out as I’d hate for the non-stick finish to get warped or scratched in any way. That, and the somewhat harsh beeping the cooker makes when it is turned on or any setting is changed, are the only two features I wasn’t keen on. It’s a fantastic appliance for anyone with limited space or time and is incredibly easy to use.How do I win this awesome device? Easy. If you’re already a fan of my Facebook page, you’re ahead. Simply email me at foodette.reviews@gmail.com detailing the next recipe or idea you think I should use with my cooker and you’ll be entered into the running. I’ll pick the best recipe on Sunday, January 15th, and follow up with a feature post!
Chicken Tacos Verde
Ingredients (serves 3)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 boneless chicken thighs
2 cans or 6 whole roasted jalapeno peppers
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, or one garlic clove
1/8th cup of Cognac
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon of orange zest
2 cups of water
Salsa verde and tortillas to assemble
1. Put all ingredients (with the exception of the salsa and tortillas) in a slow cooker or pot on the stove, allowing the mixture to slowly simmer for four hours.
2. Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
3. Serve with tortillas and salsa and enjoy!

Bagels

Dunkin’ Donuts, what can I say? It’s been a while.
Look, let’s cut to the chase. I know you don’t even know my name. I’m the girl down the street. We chilled a few times over the summer when I needed a break, we grabbed coffee during my late nights studying this semester. We may have even hooked up at a lackluster work party. You know how it goes. I love those Munchkins.
I thought I’d be able to call you my coffee shop. I was entranced by your regional charm and ample selection of goods. But you had a lot going on. You’re going places- I mean, who would have time for a commitment when you’re busy opening 250 more retail locations throughout the US? I understand. So, you know, I played the field. I checked out the soulful neighborhood coffee shop, the rival Starbucks in the next town over. At the end of the day, though, sometimes a girl’s got to do the job herself.These bagels blew my mind. I’ll be back for your specialty sandwiches and doughnuts, but as far as bready breakfast is concerned, we’re done. Don’t call me until you’re ready to settle down.

Jess
Peter Reinhart’s Bagels (adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)
Ingredients (makes six 4.5 oz bagels or ten 3 oz bagels)
Preparation time: 2-3 hours to prepare the bagels (best to start in the afternoon) and a rest in the fridge overnight
Cooking time: Fifteen minutes
For the sponge:
3/4 teaspoon of yeast
2 cups of flour
2 cups of water

For the dough:
1/4 teaspoon of yeast
1 3/4 cups of flour plus two tablespoons
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of corn or malt syrup

To finish:
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of corn or malt syrup
Cornmeal for dusting

1. Starting the afternoon or night before you want to bake the bagels, start by making your sponge. Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl and slowly add the water until the mixture resembles a smooth pancake batter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit for one to two hours or until the mixture has doubled in size.
2. Incorporate your dough ingredients, starting with the yeast and flour and finishing with the salt and corn syrup at the end, mixing and kneading the dough until it is completely hydrated and no raw flour is left. Knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable but not sticky (about ten minutes) and all of the ingredients are incorporated into the ball.
3. Immediately begin dividing the dough into small balls of your desired weight or size. I weighed mine so that they would brown evenly but it’s not necessary. Smooth the balls out and cover them with a damp paper towel. Let them sit for twenty minutes.
4. Once the balls have rested, start by shaping them into bagels. I used the “stretch and tear” method, where I poked a hole into the center of my bagels and stretched the dough around my finger to create a smooth, even thickness. But you can also use the “rope and loop” method. Take a piece of dough and roll it into an even tube like you would a clay snake. (I failed art class) Take the tube and fold it over two of your fingers, looping the two ends together and smoothing the bagel dough out. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
5. Grease a baking sheet and lay your bagels on it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them sit for another twenty minutes. Once they have sat, fill a large bowl with cool tap water and perform the float test, where you will see if the bagels are ready to retard in the fridge over night. If a bagel floats on the surface for ten or more seconds, they are ready. Pat the wet bagel off with a paper towel and pop the pan on a flat surface in the fridge over night.
6. In the morning, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Start boiling some water in a large pot on the stove. Leave your bagels in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. When the water is boiling, add the baking soda and corn syrup. Boiling the bagels is essential and will help prevent the bagels from spreading in the oven as well as create that chewy, thick crust that makes a bagel a bagel. Boil the bagels for one to two minutes, alternating sides halfway. The longer you boil your bagel, the thicker the crust and chewier the texture will be.
7. When all the bagels are boiled, spread your cornmeal out on your baking sheet and place your bagels on top. This is also the best time to add any toppings to your bagels, like poppy seeds, chopped onions, or garlic salt. The cornmeal will prevent the bagels from sticking. Bake for ten minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
8. Let the bagels cool for fifteen to twenty minutes, and then slice and toast or eat plain. Serve with salted butter or cream cheese and lox.

Salted Butter
Ingredients (makes 1/4 cup)
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or fleur de sel
1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Spread and eat once melted.
These are so goddamned easy to make. It’s the yeasty equivalent of “set it and forget it.” Now, thank me for your New Year’s Day breakfast.

Cornmeal Crepes with Jalapeno, Sage and Maple Chicken Sausage

A little simple math for you so you can play along at home.
What does this?
Plus these?
And some of this?
Equal? Some of you may have said “awesomesauce” You are partially correct. Some of you winced and said, “calories.” You are wrong and deserve to be kicked in the face. These are crepes ‘n’ sausage, also known as pigs in the blanket, and our personal family favorite, pigtails, are a mouthwatering, comforting dish which can rack up to 829 calories per serving with 27 grams of fat and 1,502 grams of sodium. Kind of awful amidst all these holiday meals, no?
What if I told you we could cut that number in half? We totally can- but we have to go deeper. We’ll start with the sausage. In the immortal words of Alex from School of Rock- pork, you’re tacky and I hate you. Of course, I’m kidding, but yeah, we can totally do better. My homemade chicken sausage patties and links took about fifteen minutes to make and fifteen minutes to cook. Each link or patty has a whopping 60 calories and 2 grams of fat and have a bold, meaty flavor with a smooth, minced texture. For the crepes, I adapted my recipe from this one and thought it did the trick wonderfully. Next time I’d even use less butter. Three crepes runs you 280 calories with 10 grams of fat. A little high in fat, but still not completely insane.

I added some jalapeno maple syrup, two tablespoons of which has around 150 calories. That’s optional, but damn, is it good. The total calorie count for this recipe without the syrup, per serving, comes to 460 calories and 16 grams of fat for three sausages in their blankets. Move over, Baby Jesus, this is the real Christmas miracle.

Jalapeno, Sage, and Maple Chicken Sausage Patties
Ingredients (makes 8 2 oz. patties or 20 links)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Root liquor (optional, but makes it awesome)
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chopped jalapenos
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large clove of garlic

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. The mixture will be a little sticky.
2. Form small patties and links with hands- don’t worry if the edges are slightly ragged. It will give them a better, crispier texture.
3. Heat a small frying pan with a little olive oil and fry the sausages in sets of three or four until the meat is no longer pink around the edges and has a golden brown crust. Serve with pancakes, in a sandwich, or eat them on their own. They’re best fresh, but can be frozen for up to three months and reheated on the stove or in the microwave.
Cornmeal Crepes
Ingredients (makes 8-10 5-inch crepes)
1/8 cup plus one tablespoon of ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of light brown sugar
2/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of butter, unmelted

1. Mix wet ingredients together. Slowly, incorporate dry ingredients until the batter is smooth.
2. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter into a small frying pan. Take two to three tablespoons of batter and plop them in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl the batter around until it is in a thin layer.
If you can do this, you’re doing it correctly.
3. When the edges of the crepe are crispy and brown, flip the crepe and cook for another 30 seconds until the other side is brown as well. Serve immediately on their own or loaded with toppings.

Terrestrial Crab Cakes (a.k.a, a very wd~50 Thanksgiving)

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t incredibly impressed by wd~50 to the point of wanting to use some clever tricks in my every day cooking. While I didn’t bust out my supply of emergency sodium citrate and calcium chloride, I did try to take back the concept of taking a concept- holidays, udon noodles, Jackson Pollack, and translate it into food.
With all the Thanksgiving leftovers lying around, I wanted to make something a little classier than the standard sandwich ‘n’ hash deal (though I ate plenty of that as well) and decided to try what Keepitcoming Love later dubbed the Terrestrial Crab Cake- a croquette made of leftover Thanksgiving offerings that emulated the buttery, stringy texture of a crab cake with no seafood.
It’s fucking delicious. And simple. I literally can’t believe that I made this in no time at all with such perfect results. Speaking from the humiliated perspective of someone who isn’t all that keen on Thanksgiving foods, this completely swayed me. Eaten with a sunny side up egg atop the whole mess, it made a decadent, but subtly complex meal.
Terrestrial Crab Cakes (Thanksgiving Hodgepodge)
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 small leek, thinly julienned
1/4 cup cranberry jelly or sauce, preferably with whole cranberries
1/2 small Poblano pepper, diced
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sopressata, sliced and cubed
1 large turkey breast, cubed
3/4 cup leftover mashed potatoes
olive oil
dried or fresh sage to garnish (optional)
1. Gather your ingredients and cut as specified. In a small pan, drizzle a little olive oil and pour in your leeks, cooking slowly on a low heat until caramelized.2. When leeks are soft and almost cooked, pour cranberry sauce, peppers, and water into the pan and turn the heat up slightly, cooking until most of the liquid is reduced.
3. Put remaining ingredients in the pan until all are mixed together and hot. Put the mash on a plate and let cool until you are able to handle it and mash it into small patties.
4. Form into patties and prepare another small pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Cook patties on medium until they are golden brown and crisp on all sides and serve with sunny side up egg or on their own.
Eat this. Just eat it. Even a baby could cook this. It surpasses the sandwich and slaps the leftovers upside the head with subtle, sweet flavors.

Gingerbread Float Cocktails

For most Americans, the next two months are going to be chock-full of activity and preparation. Not simply for holiday meals and travel plans, but mental, ninja-like preparation for steeling themselves against the onslaught of annual family members whom literally nobody enjoys.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you love your Uncle Roy despite his unflagging tendency to bring his own vegan quinoa salad and home-printed pamphlets about the brutality of turkey slaughter in the United States. And I’ve no doubt you occasionally enjoy the company of your cousin Jeremy, who will play Modern Warfare 3 with you for five hours straight after dinner but will casually bring up the subject of medical school, even though you dropped out in 2002.
But don’t try to convince me that you like your great-aunt or grandmother asking your date if they’re married. Or if you, politely clad in a starched Brooks Brothers shirt and pressed slacks, if you are getting married. Or if you’re ever going to bring a nice Jewish boy home to meet the family. (No. No. Not a chance.)
Don’t bust out the Prozac yet, guys. I have something special for you.
Once upon a midnight dreary, I sat home listening to Steely Dan and taking shots of this beautiful, sultry liquor, Root, alone in the dark. Your tax dollars at work! After sobering up, I realized that I needed to give this to the masses in a less collegiate, more family-friendly fashion like, immediately. And from my loins, this Gingerbread Float was born. I tested many combinations with my faithful friend and killed many gingerbread men in the process, but the results were so delicious that I couldn’t possibly keep them to myself.
Representing the high-priced, mild flavor of Connecticut. Hell yes!
Try to find Root. Please, please, please try to find this, because on its own it tastes like the best, most deeply smoky ginger beer you’ve ever had, with a snappy, sweet flavor like straight bourbon vanilla and a comfortingly warm finish. As well it should, being 80 proof. What makes it so remarkable is how versatile it is. I’d happily drink this like Scotch, with a finger or two in a tumbler with ice, or in a cocktail (warmed cider, perhaps?) or like this in a milk-based drink. You need this. I need this.
Rimming is essential. You know what I mean, don’t give me that look. Water will do in a pinch, but in later permutations of this cocktail, I found that a little maple syrup or melted caramel sauce was better for maximum stickiness for the gingersnap and spice coating. These are so freaking good. I know that as a full-time student at a full-time party school, I’m genetically obliged to tell you that something with copious amounts of alcohol and ice cream is freaking good, but this is good because it’s nuanced in a way that makes it an easy drinker as well as something to really savor. Whipped cream is unnecessary.
And yes, that’s not a typo. You deserve a cocktail with four ounces of booze, so don’t skimp.
Gingerbread Float Cocktails
Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail- multiply for more servings!)
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 Pepperidge Farms Ginger Men cookies, crumbled
2 oz Root liquor
2 oz vodka
1/2 cup vanilla bean ice cream or gelato
3/4 cup whole milk
Maple syrup for rimming
1. Crush the ginger cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Mix with spices and sugar and put on a small plate.
2. Over the sink, brush maple syrup over the rim of a Collins glass so that the spices and crumbs have a sticky surface to adhere to. Place the rim into the spice mixture and move around so that all surfaces are covered.
3. In a blender, pour in the remaining spices from the plate, the Root, vodka, ice cream, and milk. Blend until smooth.
4. Pour into glass and garnish with cookie and a dash of ground cinnamon.
Do not skip the garnish. It is the absolute alter ego of the cocktail. And it has red sprinkles, ergo, it’s really freaking cute. I rest my case. Please just make this- at the very least, you’ll have a built-in excuse to avoid backyard football and Republican debates.

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cornbread Balls

Hypocrisy! I believe we’ve met. Specifically, the time when I backhandedly insulted cake balls for being little more than a trendy fad. What I didn’t count on was loving them. And needing to make them. I still don’t see a point in baking cakes for the sole purpose of rehydrating them in ball form, but you tell me what to do with two-thirds of a leftover pan of cornbread, a log of goat cheese, and a three inch-tall bit of salsa left in the jar. Sigh. It’s like Chopped for sad bachelors.

Well, long story short, I gussied up my ill-fated flirt with Larry the Cable Guy’s muffin mix and turned it into these pumpkin goat cheese cornbread balls. I made them under the guise of pretending to throw a big, impromptu party for all my fabulous associates and dearest friends. In reality, I chilled them and ate them for dinner. They were delicious. They used up all my leftovers. And they are a bite-sized, handheld alternative to brie rings or cheese loaves or crab dip for your (actual) shindigs.
The steps were similar to making the cake balls, substituting cornbread (I had some made from a mix, but you could make it homemade if you wanted to) for cake and goat cheese and salsa for frosting. The outside was a lime-chili spice mixture, and I dipped them in the best jalapeno dip known to man, Dr. Gonzo’s Jalapenomash. I encourage you to order it in bulk or use whatever your favorite it- but please make sure it’s green. My Jewish family members will thank you and your holiday tablescape will be just as ornate as Sandra Lee’s.
Step 1. Mash the cornbread with the salsa and goat cheese.
Step 2. Roll the balls in the spices.
Step 3. ????
Step 4. PROFIT
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cornbread Balls (makes thirty)
Ingredients
1 loaf of cornbread (packaged or homemade)
1 8 oz. log of goat cheese
1/2 cup of chunky salsa (I used pumpkin salsa, but any type would work)
1/4 cup of chili-lime seasoning for rolling
Salsa to dip in
1. Bake your cornbread. When it is cooled, crumble with hands or a fork until fine.
2. Mix in salsa and goat cheese until it resembles a loose, crumbly dough.
3. Roll into small balls and roll in the chili-lime seasoning.
4. Chill for one to six hours and serve with salsa!

Ginger and Black Pepper Truffles

Halloween, you were fun, but now you’re merely a thing of the past. For the record, I didn’t dress up. I sat at home taking the practice LSAT for the second time. Spooky, right? Oh well. One can’t do everything, namely, ingest Slippery Nipples in a sexy pediatrician’s costume and get hit on by poorly made up Jokers. I did, however, leave Halloween in the past and focus on the latest and greatest upcoming holiday, Guy Fawkes Day. Because it’s strictly against my zoning laws to blow stuff up, I made gunpowder-inspired cookie truffles instead- smoky, spicy, snappy.

Cookie-based truffles and cake truffles are nothing new. Everybody and their mother has done something with them, and in eight katrillion flavors. But however hard I looked, and believe me, I looked hard, I couldn’t find truffles that utilized my absolute favorite cookie, Newman’s Own Organics Ginger-O. God, how I love it. It’s one of the only cookies that passed our scrutiny enough to buy it time and time again. To celebrate November and a three point raise from my first test, here are some Ginger and Black Pepper Truffles.
These are easy to make and even easier to doll up with interesting flavors if you’re so inclined. I used cinnamon and ground ginger in my white chocolate dip, and a cracked black pepper garnish on top. I only made 1/3 of the recipe, which yielded 16 truffles, but if you’re making these for a crowd, use the entire package. The reduced and full recipes are both below.
To start, take your Ginger-O’s out of the package and put them in a food processor.
Grind them up until they’re completely crumbled. I sprinkled some ground ginger in there, too. Make sure there aren’t any whole pieces left that have escaped the wrath of the blade.
Take your cream cheese- 1/3rd of the package or the entire block if you’re making all the truffles, and blob it into the food processor. Pulse that together until you have a blended dough.
Shape the dough into relatively round balls and place on a cookie sheet. Chill for no less than an hour and as long as overnight. While your truffles are chilling, prepare the chocolate bark.
The grocery store was out of Wilton’s candy melts, so I tried these Dolci Frutta melts. While I figured them out, they made too thick of a shell and were absolutely infuriating to mold. Stick to chocolate bark or candy melts.
I mixed in my cinnamon and ground ginger and melted the chocolate. It didn’t get any more fluid than a thick paste, so I had to improvise and mold it around the balls, like a fondant. After that, quickly dust the truffles with cracked black pepper- while they are still wet so it is able to adhere. Chill for four hours to overnight, and eat!
These were delicious- a cross between a snickerdoodle and a spicy ginger snap. Hopefully these will kick off a new trend in cookie ballery. I know what I’m making for holiday cookies this year.
Ginger and Black Pepper Truffles (makes approximately 50)
Ingredients
1 pkg. Newman’s Own Organics Ginger-O’s
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pkg. white chocolate baking bark
Cracked black pepper to garnish
1. Dump the cookies into a food processor and blend until finely ground.
2. Blob in cream cheese and blend until soft, smooth dough forms
3. Roll dough into small balls (2 tsp.) and chill for one to twelve hours.
4. Melt chocolate baking bark in double boiler and add spices.
5. Dip chilled truffles into melted bark and garnish with cracked black pepper.
6. Chill for three to twelve hours and eat!
Adjusted ratios for 1/3 of a batch
1/3 pkg. (approximately 12) Newman O’s
1/3 pkg (2.6 oz) cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 package white chocolate baking bark
Cracked black pepper to garnish

Grilled Sweet Polenta and Balsamic Vinegar and Honey Nectarines

Unfortunately, I’ve had a busy night, so I’m bringing you another set of photos from tonight’s grilling session. New reviews will be up starting tomorrow. Sorry for the delay!
In addition to your nightly food porn, I wish to reiterate that this website, although I love it so, is not a democracy. It is a ruthless dictatorship using sarcasm and sex as weapons, a kind mistress, if you will. This, of course, means that comments should and will be civil. I have had to close comments on one particular entry as a result of all the spammity spam emanating from its bowels. Remember, guys. I don’t really care if you’re butthurt, especially when it’s in defense of a multi-billion dollar corporation. I’m not here to make you happy. I’m here to write about things I love and, more often than not, things I hate. I suggest you hate them with me or visit a more appropriate, friendlier website like NAMBLA or forums about conspiracy theories and aliens.
And lo, I bring you nectarines. I enjoyed this recipe for its mingling of flavors, but found the polenta remarkably difficult to grill even when coated in fine sugar like an upside-down crème brûlée. Next time, I would make thicker cubes or pan-fry it à la French toast.
Cheers.

Simple pleasures on a summer day…

…need only include sunny, windy weather and a hot dog a la Blackie’s of Cheshire. As you know, I hail from what ought to be officially known as the hot dog stand capital of the United States- Connecticut. But then we’d have the hamburger (Louis’ Lunch) as well as the hot dog and all the other states would be jealous. Admit it, Idaho.
I don’t boil my dogs. I prefer them cremated to a snappy, crisp finish and slathered in spicy mustard on a steamed bun.
One can never have too much mustard. And yes, there’s another link hiding under there. Oddly enough, it all comes out to be perfectly proportioned.
And as much as I’ve been harping nutritional facts lately, this is a hot dog that has all the frippery of appearing indulgent, but with a caloric count that really won’t make a dent in your diet. After slaving the day away, I’ve been coming home and playing around with my meat. Meat combinations, that is, and found this one to be the tastiest and the least caloric. I used chicken links instead of beef hot dogs and, because I wanted two hot dogs, shaved a bun off by just stacking them both together. I think it had a better flavor because when I had two dogs in two buns the night before, most of the flavors were lost in the squishy sweetness of the split New England bun. The first night I grilled up some dogs (I’ve been eating these for a few days now. I just can’t get enough of them when the weather is nice) I toasted the buns as well, but found that with the charred, salty flavor of the meat, the buttered finish on the buns was too overwhelming.
So, with my variables accounted for and my condiments carefully smeared on, I believe I have created a hot dog worthy of a place on the ultimate list of Connecticut pups. The total calorie count for two chicken franks, one steamed New England split bun, two tablespoons of hot mustard, and a bit of oil or butter for cooking came out to 350 calories (and this is a filling dog) and around 13 grams of fat. I’m sure even that could be reduced by finding a fat-free hot dog or grilling in margarine or a noncaloric cooking spray. I just happen to like the taste of butter. So simple, and yet, so satisfying.